History of our Association
What is the North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees’ Association (NCRGEA)? How did we begin?
The first move toward organizing retired state and local governmental retirees took place in 1970 when a group of retirees met to talk about the plight of retirees who did not have representation before the legislature. Although there were several good associations at that time, their greatest efforts were directed to active employees and not to retirees. A recent legislature had authorized the Governor to appoint a commission to study the status of all governmental employees, so this group met to discuss and organize a committee to visit the commission concerning needs of retirees. After this experience, a group of about 10 realized that state retirees needed to have their own organization. This group elected a board of directors and officers and instructed them to proceed with development of plans for the Association. In the early days of NCRGEA, many members came mostly from Wake County and the surrounding area but as our organization grew, retirees from across the state joined.
During the early 1970s, a great deal of our Association’s focus was devoted to providing increased benefits to those who had retired in the earlier years at a lower rate of pay. These efforts were successful and benefit increases were given. Early efforts of the Association also included issues such as the Homestead Exemption issue, credit for military service, repayment of withdrawn contributions, credit for work outside of North Carolina, and the issue of disability retirement.
A big milestone for NCRGEA’s leaders and members was reached in 1978 when the legislature approved the payment of health insurance for state retirees. Also, because of gains in the retirement systems, NCRGEA worked for those extra funds to be given back to retirees in the form of cost-of-living increases.
Here are some important points when we introduced programs and services for members:
1970 – Original dues were $5 per year for the original 85 charter members.
1971 – The first year of recorded organized membership was 1,896; tiered membership dues ranged from $1 to $5 per year.
1972 – The state was divided into districts and directors were appointed in each district.
1973 – Association’s first part-time staff hired.
1974 – Association moved office operations into space at 715 W. Johnson Street, Raleigh.
1976 – Membership exceeds 5,000.
1981 – Association leadership decided to secure a full-time executive director for NCRGEA.
1981 – The Butner Chapter was chartered serving eight counties.
1982 – First full-time Executive Director for the Association was hired. Membership exceeded 10,000.
1984 – Association begins publishing bi-monthly newsletter, Living Power.
1985 – District meetings for members are initiated covering the entire state on a 3-year rotation.
1986 – Introduction of a blanket Accidental Death & Dismemberment benefit as a free benefit of membership. Membership exceeds 19,000. Accidental Death & Dismemberment benefit with coverage of $1,000 was provided each member.
1989 – Free membership for life for Association members who reach age 90 is established.
1990 – Membership exceeds 31,000.
1991 – Lifetime Members category approved by the Board of Directors. Members could join (or renew) and pay a one-time fee based on age groups.
1993 – NCRGEA moved into its own building at 528 Wade Avenue in Raleigh.
1995 – Vision Care Discount Program provided free to members and their families.
1995 – Membership exceeds 40,000. Association headquarters building mortgage paid in full!
1998 – A toll-free legislative Hot Line is established to provide members with current information on General Assembly activities.
2001 – Group MetLife dental insurance plan announced for members and family.
2003 – Membership exceeds 50,000 members.
2005 – HearPO Hearing discount program is provided to members.
2005 – Association website is upgraded and members are given electronic access to a weekly Legislative report and our bimonthly newsletter, Living Power.
2009 – Online credit card process introduces for dues payments for new members and renewals.
2010 – Associate Member category introduces for Spouses of member retirees to join NCRGEA with full member benefits.
2010 – Superior Vision becomes provider for vision care discount program and for a group vision insurance plan.
2014 – Office Depot introduces Store Purchasing Discount program for members that gives members access to special pricing and discounts.
2015 – Access Perks Discount program offered to members for $18 a year. Accidental Death and Dismemberment coverage increased to $10,000.
2015 – Affiliate member category is created, offering a six-month free membership to new retirees with limited benefits including our Living Power newsletter and legislative updates.
2016 – Membership exceeds 53,000 in January 2016.
2016 – Living Power newsletter to be provided in large print for our visually impaired members.
2016 – Carolina Cruise and Tours joins with NCRGEA to offer trips and tours to NCRGEA members.
2017 – Final Expense Insurance coverage offered through Walker Insurance Agency, Inc., Roxboro, NC.
2018 – AmWINs joins NCRGEA as a provider for Medical Supplemental Insurance focusing on local government retirees and spouses.
2019 – Free Access Perks Program introduced and Access Perks program expended to Premium Access Perks for an annual fee.
2019 – Introduction of the IDShield/LegalShield programs through Mark III Employee Benefits.
2020 – Dental plan provider changed to The Standard Insurance Company which now offers a High Option Plan and a Low Option dental plan, giving members affordable choices.
Nearly 50 years later, with membership over 67,000, who would have thought that the vision of NCRGEA’s early pioneers would have resulted in the strength our Association has today?
NCRGEA is the largest lobbying association in the nation for retired state and local governmental employees. The objectives and mission of our Association have been, and will continue be, to advance, promote and defend by any lawful means the rights, interests and welfare of retired employees of the local governments and the State of North Carolina.